NPA metes ‘death’ on Abra candidate

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The Abra-based New People’s Army confirmed it sentenced a candidate for town councilor with the “death penalty” for being a “government spy”.

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Crispin Maguelang, who was running for a seat in the Sangguniang Bayan (Municipal Council) of Baay-Licuan town was abducted and later found dead on April 5.

In a statement, the Procopio Tauro Front-Agustin Begnalen Command said Maguelang was taken by guerillas to Sitio Bayabas in the remote villa of Malibcong near the boundary of Kalinga and Abra, where he was meted the “death penalty”.

It said Maguelang was a long-time spy who took part in various operations by the 41st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, which resulted in harassments, actual detention and killing of innocent civilians in his hometown in Baay-Licuan.

A source of The Manila Times confirmed the claim of the NPA that Maguelan was “executed” for being a “spy”.

Maguelang, the group added, pointed to the government forces the exact locations of rebel camps. “Daytoy ket nagresulta iti pannakatiliw ti maysa a mannakigubat ti NPA ken ti kakaruan ket nagmurdong iti panangmasaker ti 41stIB kadagiti agaama a Ligiw sadiay Sucao, Domenglay, Licuan-Baay idi March 3, 2014,”[Maguelang tipped to government forces resulting in the raid of the camps and the arrest of one of our men and the killings of 41st IB of father and son Ligiw in Sucao, Domenglay in Baan-Licuan on March 3, 2014], the statement said.

The Abra police named two native villagers linked by the Philippine Army in the killing. Abra police director Senior Supt. Antonio Bartolome said a murder case was referred to the Abra prosecutor’s office docketed under National Prosecution Service (NPS) No. I-06-INV-16D-00103 against Jessie Ligiw and Mandu Eduarte.

“Identified sila na taga kabila or maka-kaliwa [they were identified as leftists]as per Army”, Bartolome said.

In March 2014, Ligiw, together with his sibling Edna and Edwin, filed extrajudicial killing complaints before the Commission on Human Rights-Cordillera against the Philippine Army’s 41IB for the murder of their father and two brothers.

Ligiw’s father – 70-year-old Ama Licuben Ligiw – and his brothers Eddie, 42, and Fermin, 30, were brutally killed and found buried in a common shallow grave on March 7, 2014.

The Army belied that they were behind the killing and instead pointed to the NPA as its supposed punishment for the elder Ligiw, who turned his back on the rebel movement.

NPA rebels in Abra also blamed Maguelang for actively recruiting villagers into the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU). They also linked the slain candidate to “criminal and anti-social activities” like leading illegal logging, illegal fishing, illegal drugs and other abuses in the communities, including abuses to women.

In a separate statement, the underground youth group Kabataang Makabayan-Demokratiko a tignayan dagiti Agtutubo ti Kordilyera (KM-Datako Abra-Ricardo “Ka Tubong” Reyes chapter) in Abra hailed Maguelang’s punishment.

It said the penalty serves as a stern warning against “spies,” adding that “no matter where you may hide or run, the long arm of the revolutionary justice will reach you,” the statement added.

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